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Darwin for dive wreck destination

Posted: 03 Oct 2018 22:18
by MikeJames
Apparently the Commonwealth has offered the former HMAS Darwin to the Tasmanian government for use as a dive wreck and the offer's been accepted.

I'm not sure why exactly they don't sink her off the coast near Darwin, but anyhow...

The exact date's not been announced, and Darwin will require a fair amount of prep work, but she is Tassie bound.


Re: Darwin for dive wreck destination

Posted: 04 Oct 2018 07:44
by rritchie71
I think you would find, if they sink it off Darwin, divers would want to visit it and Darwin has crocodiles....:)

Well that is my thought anyway.



Re: Darwin for dive wreck destination

Posted: 04 Oct 2018 08:43
by MichaelB
rritchie71 wrote:I think you would find, if they sink it off Darwin, divers would want to visit it and Darwin has crocodiles....:)

Well that is my thought anyway.



That would add a new meaning to " come to Darwin and feed the crocodiles" :D

Re: Darwin for dive wreck destination

Posted: 04 Oct 2018 11:39
by kitlowran
Diving in Darwin would have some challenges, notwithstanding the wildlife - that being the high tidal range, which means strong tidal stream, and the visibility. Not impossible, but you would have to pick your times, or be quite a strong swimmer.

The turbidity would also limit what one could see down there, it would be tricky to get a full appreciation of the length of the vessel. Diving charters would probably tend to focus on smaller wrecks and reefs.

Re: Darwin for dive wreck destination

Posted: 04 Oct 2018 14:06
by CarlLinkenbagh
I've dived in Darwin on one of the wrecks that was bombed by the Japanese in 1942. It's a very difficult environment to dive in - tidal changes in the metres combined with an estuarine environment that results in strong currents and turbid water. The result of that is you can only dive at slack tide (unless you want to end up on a beach somewhere in Indonesia) which really narrows your options and you're lucky if you can see 5m in front of you at the best of times.

This also means that not only can you not see the croc as it's coming in to bite your head and/or limbs off, you can't exactly swim away from it either.....even if you were Michael Phelps. Then there's the box jellyfish to think about. And the bull sharks.

Probably best to forget the diving and stay ashore eating food and drinking beer.

Re: Darwin for dive wreck destination

Posted: 04 Oct 2018 15:21
by MikeJames
Good points all, perhaps leave the waters off Darwin to the Crocs.

Apparently not everyone down in Green-Land, AKA Tasmania are happy about having a dive wreck, perhaps scared it will upset migratory sharks or something.

HMAS Darwin: scuttling plan debated in Tasmania


12:00AM OCTOBER 4, 2018

It’s a big gift for a small community but the offer of a 4000-tonne warship has locals in Tasmania’s Bay of Fires scrambling for battle stations on both sides of an increasingly fierce debate.

The federal government has offered to give the decommissioned HMAS Darwin to the region in the state’s northeast, famed for its long, secluded beaches and pristine waters.

There is a catch: a price tag, estimated at $6 million to $10m, to strip, clean and scuttle the 138m frigate about 800m offshore in Skeleton Bay, near Binalong Bay. Tasmania’s Liberal government is calculating and weighing up that cost against the tourism benefit, as well as competing claims of locals in the “for” and “against” camps.

The local Break O’Day Council has been supportive of the concept, part-funding a study into an earlier plan for HMAS Tobruk, which instead was scuttled in Queensland in June, controversially settling on its side.

Mayor Mick Tucker says most locals are onside and see the HMAS Darwin scuttling as a win for the region’s economy and marine environment. “I am personally extremely satisfied … there are no environmental issues,” he says. “An artificial wreck would create a haven for fish and a huge nursery. It becomes a micro-marine park.”

He accuses some of “misinformation and half-truths”, saying: “We have professional agitators who’ve come to Tasmania who’ve had failed attempts to stop wrecks elsewhere.

“It beggars belief that we can have dive wrecks in every state of Australia with no problems but if you want to put one in Tasmania there is always the anti-everything brigade.”

Local opponents, who recently hosted an anti-wreck activist from Avoca Beach on the NSW central coast, point to problems with scuttlings interstate.

Avoca Beach activists say they had to fight in the courts for additional remediation on the HMAS Adelaide before it was scuttled in 2011.

St Helens resident Lesa Whit­taker says components of HMAS Darwin could break off across time and wash up on beaches — and the entire ship could be washed ashore in a storm.

“It also changes the ecology, and they say that will bring fish, but with that you are going to have more sharks,” Whittaker says. “It is a natural environment and already a great spot for diving; you don’t need to dump waste.

“There’s been no community consultation on scuttling HMAS Darwin. It’s just not a good fit for our pristine, clean, green image. We want this place as it is, for ­future generations. We want people surfing, walking and kayaking; that’s what brings people here.”

She says the claimed economic boost is dubious and the money would be better spent on projects of broader ­benefit.

However, Binalong Bay diving business owner Peter Paulsen says the cost would be quickly recouped from tourism and dive fees.

“We would expect a minimum of 5000 divers a year, based on research, and the average spend is about $850 for a diver in food, accommodation and travel,” he says.

“That’s $4m a year. So the ­return to the community is quite reasonable.”

The state government says it is finalising “the necessary due ­diligence to assess the total cost to the state associated with the vessel’s scuttling, prior to making a final decision whether to proceed”.

One experienced company that has pitched to scuttle the Darwin, McMahon Services, says that provided the lightweight aluminium walls in the ship are removed, no part of the wreck would break away and wash up on beaches.

Owner Andrew McMahon also rejects concerns that the ship could wash ashore in a violent storm.

“When we scuttle the vessels we replace all the bilge with concrete to make sure they have a very sturdy anchoring system in the sand,” he says.

“It’s not going to move. Even in that massive, one-in-100-year storm they had along the NSW coast a few years back, the HMAS Adelaide didn’t move a millimetre.”